The Iowa student whose impassioned pro-gay marriage speech to Iowa legislators became the most-watched political clip of 2011 on YouTube after going viral twice last year will soon take his message to the national level.
Zach Wahls will serve as co-chair for "The Outspoken Generation," the Family Equality Council's national youth advocacy initiative involving the young adult children of LGBT parents. Joining him will be Ella Robinson, the daughter of Bishop Gene Robinson who is the first openly gay person to be ordained a bishop in a major Christian denomination.
"A family is a group of people who love each other," Wahls -- whose new book, "My Two Moms," will be released later this month -- says in a video clip about the project. "If you're willing to put in the blood, sweat, toil and tears...if you're willing to make the commitment and demonstrate the love that it takes to successfully raise a young, healthy, well-rounded adult...who you are is so much less important than what you do."
"We are now seeing the first generation of children, who were lovingly raised by LGBT parents, coming into young adulthood," Family Equality Council Executive Director Jennifer Chrisler said in an email statement. "We know, from our conversations with these young people and from our experience with them, that they are terrific kids who are thriving and succeeding in life by any measure you choose to use. Many of them are now telling us that they are eager to tell the truth about their families. Who better to refute the myths and lies of hate groups like [National Organization for Marriage] than our grown up children?"
Wahls and Robinson will launch the Outspoken Generation’s national dialogue about LGBT families this spring. Wahls will also serve on youth panels during Family Week in Provincetown from July 28 –- Aug 4, while Robinson will serve as keynote speaker and panel participant during the Midwest Family Equality Conference in Minneapolis on April 28.
Take a look at Wahls' original speech, along with other LGBT-relevant viral videos, below:
An Amazing Gay Wedding Proposal
Danny Rose set a new precedent for gay grooms-to-be with his amazing proposal video. Titled "What Are We Waiting For," the video features a dance-pop soundtrack and "Glee"-style choreography, along with a number of slick costume changes to boot. "I started writing the song in December and took me a month to complete," said Rose. "Then I prepped the music video for a few weeks and shot it all in one day...After the video I got down on one knee and asked him to make me the happiest person in the world and spend his life with me! He said of course and it was a great moment. But wanted to watch the video again 30 more times. There are a lot of inside jokes and even some wardrobe choices in there designed to experiences in our history."
Tim Tebow's Man-On-Man Smooch
Although Tebow filmed a Superbowl commercial in 2010 for the anti-gay, anti-abortion organization Focus On The Family (FOTF), he seemed to have no problem sharing a male-on-male lip-lock with Demaryius Thomas in front of thousands (millions?) of onlookers in October.
Woman Proposes To Girlfriend At Hockey Game
Penned by "Wicked" Stephen Schwartz, "Testimony" has become an Internet hit, thanks to a video performance by the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus (SFGMC) which has gone viral. The song has been dubbed the "It Gets Better" anthem.
Eighth Grader's 'Don't Say Gay' PSA
An eighth grader's hilarious public service announcement on the misuse of the word "gay" made the rounds of the LGBT blogosphere and beyond in November.
Zach Wahls' Pro-Gay Marriage Speech In Iowa
Wahls' profound pro-gay parenting, pro-marriage equality speech went viral twice this year. The 19-year-old's moving testimony in front of the Iowa House of Representatives swept Twitter and Facebook in February and in December due to the continuing debates about same-sex marriage and gay parenting in the United States.
Gay Couple Reacts After Being Told They're Going To Be Grandfathers
It's easy to see why a video of a gay couple being told they're going to be grandparents went viral again over a year after it was originally uploaded to YouTube.
Australia's 'It's Time' Marriage Equality Ad
An Australian same-sex marriage advocacy group's sexy, dramatic new campaign had the blogosphere abuzz in late fall. Produced by independent advocacy organization GetUp! Action for Australia, the new ad, simply titled "A Love Story," which depicts two handsome men frolicking on a beach and dealing with family crises before a proposal and the subsequent nuptials.
Gay Kiss Upstages Al Jazeera Reporter
One gay couple expressed their views on the victory of Spain's Mariano Rajoy and his conservative People's Party by "videobombing" an Al Jazeera reporter, kissing passionately as the hapless correspondent spoke on the election.
Jonah Mowry's Brave Confession
A bullied teen's poignant video caught the eye of the blogosphere over three months after it was originally posted. The clip, simply titled "Whats goin on..." [sic] and uploaded to YouTube in August, features eighth grader Jonah Mowry, who addresses the audience with a series of revealing notecards while Sia's "Breathe Me" plays in the background.
Michigan Senator Slams 'Matt's Safe School Law'
In a stinging floor speech, Michigan Senator Gretchen Whitmer expressed her dissatisfaction with "Matt's Safe School Law," which -- at the time -- created a special exception for bullies who have "a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction," as well as neglecting to protect to bullying against students based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Gay Soldier Comes Out To Father On YouTube
Hours after the U.S. military repealed "Don't Ask Don't Tell," Randy Phillips, a young American soldier stationed in Germany <a href="http://main.aol.com/2011/09/20/soldier-comes-out-to-father-on-youtube_n_971994.html" target="_hplink">had something to tell his father</a>. "Dad, I'm gay," the soldier uttered into his cellphone. "Always have been and always known forever," he adds.
Bachmann Confronted By 8-Year-Old LGBT Activist
In early December, Michele Bachmann was left speechless after an awkward encounter with a young activist named Elijah at a South Carolina book signing. The video, however, drew plenty of criticism from some unusual sources.
'Gay Is The Word'
Produced by staff and students from the University of Liverpool and based on an original idea from the staff's LGBT Network, "Gay is the Word" shows a British fellow attempting to come out to his mates as a gay man, yet failing when his friends don't understand that "gay" also means "homosexual."